The Big Ten is a competitive, feisty conference. Our B1G 10 Week 7 Review shows that even with a limited slate of 5 games. Purdue stunned #2 Iowa, Michigan State found a new way to win and Army came to town!
After a statement win over Penn State in week 6 Iowa were set up for a run at the Big Ten title, and the college football playoffs. Then Purdue slapped them with a big reality check! Confidence must have been sky high in Kinnick Stadium the way Iowa have been playing. The defense are scarily good, but this game showed they might be relying on that unit too much.
Purdue made Iowa’s defense look distinctly average – maybe even poor – because they kept a lid on turnovers. The Hawkeyes thrive on taking the ball away but could only manage that once, and even that was a rather fortunate fumble through the endzone for a touchback. Without the turnovers Purdue turned up the pressure on the Iowa defense and they couldn’t handle it.
DB Riley Moss was out with a knee injury and Iowa really missed him. He leads the team with 4 interceptions and is a dominant force in the secondary. On Saturday David Bell took full advantage of his absence, torching the Hawkeyes for 240 yards and a touchdown. He was unstoppable and this performance will have NFL draft analysts moving Bell up their boards for sure. QB Aidan O’Connell ran in a touchdown of his own to open the scoring but Iowa tied the game at 7-7 with a Kelly-Martin TD run. The Boilermakers responded on the next possession to lead 14-7 at halftime. Purdue then shut the door in the second half, simply refusing to concede any more points. David Bell’s TD stretched the lead at the start of the 4th quarter and the defense did the rest.
Purdue were excellent on defense. They forced an interception on the very first drive of the game and stifled the Hawkeyes all day long. Defensive end George Karlaftis was disruptive for the whole 60 minutes, and is a big reason the Boilermakers won. The defense intercepted Petras 4 times in total as the scoreline, and the Purdue defense forced Iowa into a more expansive attack. It did not work. There have been question marks hanging over the Hawkeye offense and whether they could win Iowa a game. Well, when the defense needed some help this week, they wilted.
Michigan State found a different way to win when plan A didn’t work. Kenneth Walker III didn’t have a monster game, in fact the Hoosiers bottled up the run game pretty well. The Indiana defense had a really good day all round, limiting the Spartans to 241 yards in total and intercepting Jack Tuttle twice.
Tuttle was in for the injured Michael Penix but couldn’t change the script the Hoosiers have followed this season. That script is titled ‘Turnovers’ – Indiana need to cut them out in order to win close games like this. A first quarter pick 6 got Michigan State on the board while Indiana kicked three field goals for a 9-7 lead at halftime. The teams then traded back-to-back interceptions followed by back-to-back touchdowns in a fun 10 minute stretch. The Spartans kicked a field goal to give them a 5 point cushion and held on to move to a brilliant 7-0.
Tanner Morgan came out firing against Nebraska! Minnesota were nearly perfect in the first half, despite injuries to key guys. Without Ibrahim and now Potts the Golden Gophers looked in their backroom and promoted Bryce Williams to starting running back. It doesn’t seem to matter who is there, Minnesota can run the ball! Nebraska’s usually stingy defense couldn’t handle Minnesota and were down 21-9 at the half.
The Cornhuskers clearly had words because they picked off Morgan on his next 2 drives. The defense helped swing the momentum Nebraska’s way and Rahmir Johnson closed the gap to 5 points with a 1 yard TD. Unfortunately they muffed their chances to take the lead after putting some good drives together. First they were held out of the endzone on 4th and 1, then Connor Culp missed a field goal on the next drive. Nebraska were close again, but couldn’t execute when it really mattered and Minnesota escaped with the win. The Cornhuskers have lost 5 games this year and all of them have been by just 1 score! Close, but no cigar.
An up-and-down season for Northwestern took another positive turn in a bounceback victory. Pat Fitzgerald’s team have had a tough few weeks, but stepped up to win a game many thought would be beyond them. The Wildcats defense came to play, forcing punts of 5 of Rutgers 6 opening possessions.
Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinkski emphasised how much fun this team was having after the game. He certainly had fun, throwing for 2 TDs and 267 yards in a matchup the Wildcats controlled from start to finish.
Noah Vedral couldn’t find a rythme or any consistency, completing just 18 passes for 152 yards. The Scarlet Knights couldn’t get anything going in the ground game either in a lacklustre display not in keeping with their early season success. The previous 3 losses were somewhat expected against tough opponents, but they will be very disappointed not to have stopped the slide here.
Army were without starting QB Christian Anderson and will be wondering what might have been had he been fit. Both his backups Tyler and Laws played well in Anderson’s absence, but in such a close game could he have got the Black Knights across the line? Wisconsin managed the triple-option offense pretty well, restricting Army to just 179 rushing yards. The Black Knights want to run the ball over and over again but the Badgers held strong and forced Army to punt on 5 of their 9 possessions.
Wisconsin had a 13-0 half time lead thanks to touchdowns from Mertz and Braelon Allen on the ground. Allen broke the 100-yard barrier for the second game in a row and the 17 year old freshman is looking good! A bright spark that Paul Chryst will surely look to build around going forward.
The crucial moment in this game came with the score at 13-7 with less than 3 minutes to go. Leo Chenal delivered a punishing hit on QB Jabari Laws and knocked the ball free. Wisconsin pounced on the fumble and Graham Mertz turned it into 7 points, sealing the win. Army did manage a late touchdown of their own, but couldn’t recover the onside kick to give them a shot at a comeback.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT